Thousands of residents at Care UK homes kept their eyes skyward at the weekend as they took part in a nationwide bird-watching event.
The annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, held each year at the end January, is the world’s biggest wildlife survey and gives the charity vital information to monitor bird populations.
This year, for the first time, all of Care UK’s residential care homes and day clubs signed up to take part in the event and submit their findings to the RSPB.
In the lead up to the weekend, residents and the teams at homes prepared for the hour-long birdwatch by filling feeders and preparing food to encourage birds into their gardens.
Care UK homes provide specialist support to thousands of older people, from residential care to nursing and expert dementia care. Joining in the Big Garden Birdwatch is a practical element of the activity based care delivered in Care UK’s homes, and has particular value as a way of stimulating people living with dementia.
Maizie Mears-Owen, Head of Dementia Care said: “Research has shown that staying connected with nature and activities such as bird watching have a great therapeutic effect on people living with dementia.
“Nature has a calming effect on nearly all of us, and when bird watching can be used to stimulate memories and encourage conversations it is an ideal activity for residents to get involved in.”
Results coming in from homes around the country have shown residents spotted a wide variety of birds, including robins, starlings, blue tits, wrens and pigeons.
Maizie added: “We have had a great response to the birdwatch event from our homes and lots of residents enjoyed taking part in this nationally important survey.”
Now that the survey is complete, homes will be continuing the bird theme, with a CD of recorded birdsong due to arrive in all Care UK homes around the country in the next few weeks.
The 40-track CD contains a wide variety of recorded birdsong and thanks to the therapeutic effect of birdsong, will be used to help promote wellbeing amongst people living with dementia, as well as providing great opportunities for quizzes and reminiscence activities.